Browsing by Subject "Oldest-old"

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  • Lehti, T. E.; Öhman, H.; Knuutila, M.; Kautiainen, H.; Karppinen, H.; Tilvis, R.; Strandberg, T.; Pitkälä, K. H. (2021)
    Background Changes in older people's symptoms across recent decades have not been investigated. Aims We analyzed temporal trends in symptom burden by comparing data from independent, cross-sectional cohorts retrieved in 1989, 1999, 2009, and 2019. Furthermore, we compared the association between symptom burden and psychological wellbeing (PWB) in older men and women. Methods The Helsinki Aging Study recruited a random sample of people aged 75, 80, and 85 in 1989, and random samples aged 75, 80, 85, 90, and 95 in 1999, 2009, and 2019 (four study waves). Altogether, 6263 community-dwelling people answered the questions concerning symptoms in the questionnaire surveys. The symptoms inquired in all study waves were dizziness, back pain, joint pain, chest pain, shortness of breath, and loss of appetite. Symptom burden was calculated according to the number of symptoms and their frequency (score range: 0-6). PWB and the Charlson comorbidity index were calculated. Results Symptom burden decreased in both men and women aged 75 and 80 from 1989 to 2019. Changes in cohorts aged 85 + were nonsignificant. There was a significant difference in symptom burden between men and women in all ages with men having fewer symptoms. PWB decreased with increasing symptom burden. Men had greater PWB than women up to severe levels of symptom burden. Conclusions Symptom burden decreased from 1989 to 2019 in cohorts aged 75-80, whereas changes remained nonsignificant in cohorts aged 85 +. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine temporal trends in symptom burden.